That blinkin' Ash giving all my shortcuts away
Yup, posts above all pointing you in the right direction. Been 3 times in last few weeks and there is a faint very wet trod developing from the bend in the Caldew straight up Mungrisedale. (i'm keeping off it and zig zagging up further to right).
A few years back I used to prefer the 'direct' route, South ish then down through heather to a ribbon of grass leading to the sheepfold you mention. You can get a good view of this as you climb to Mungrisdale but it is hard to locate from above!!
The fence East then Wiley is failsafe and is distinct all the way now.
[QUOTE=Nee Bother;485875]That blinkin' Ash giving all my shortcuts away
Good me you see!!
I always took the view that the ground here is crap everywhere, so i'd try and cross as little of it as possible by taking a direct route from the summit of Calva to the big bend in the Caldew where there is a mini landslide that creates a peaty 'stepping stone' down to the river. I;d then strike up the fell ahead and pick up the track from the summit of Mungrisedale Common which is off to the right (about 300m away). This results in a rough ride towards the bottom of the heather but is fairly fast initially.
I then supported a couple of rounds down the east fence and must admit that the running is easier and far more pleasant. But i did find that the direct route was usually a couple of mins quicker and kind of stuck with it. The little trod that has been mentioned wasn't there in 2007 when i went round.
It (the direct route) carries a greater risk of turning an ankle (something a friend of mine did badly on that slope on a recce) and so given the fact that the east fence is 'safer', more pleasant and not materially different in time, it's probably the best choice on balance, despite being arguably a touch slower, and even that assertion is based on a sample of one (me).
In short, there's hardly owt in it either way.
Last edited by Mark Smith; 28-05-2012 at 12:35 PM.
Having supported the east fence route once (2002), done my round via the direct line (2005) and supported the direct line once (2011) I think things have changed.
The east fence line used to be horrendous but may well have improved in the intervening years - I've never been tempted to go back on it. The direct route I suspect was a lot easier seven/eight years ago as the heather was very short, in fact most of the ground down to the vehicle track up the valley was on bilberries or grass, you only had the ground between the track and the river that was difficult. Last year the heather was much higher - about mid shin height - and picking up the trod was a matter of keeping your eyes peeled.
I don't know if there's an equivalent point lower down the river but the direct route has an option of crossing the river using the fence as a bridge about 200m further upstream. This is useful if the Calder is running high.
The other alternative if the river is high is going via Skiddaw House - it was mentioned on a thread some years ago - it doesn't have as much descent/reascent as either the direct or the east fence but is slightly longer (about 400m from memory). With the exception of the pull up to the Cloven Stone it's very runnable.
Without me you'd be one place nearer the back
How much advice can 1 man take??? I've done various routes over the last 3 years as described by Bob, but I'd go with Martyn's route, but just as you approach the Caldew I would be slightly to the west to cross at the large bend - short, shallow (if this weather holds), and then take a bearing to hit the trod running east to west from the Cloven Stone. Keeping the fence to the right of you off Great Calva there is a very runnable path and you can't go wrong once you get to the bottom - right turn over fence on a trod. For me this route was far better than the direct line thru heather sapping stuff (I am short mind), and the risk so early in the round would be to twist an ankle orn knee. It is slightly quicker (marginal) but for me this route wins everytime. Good luck
My preferred route is as shown. The river crossing up there is 25m higher than that by Wiley Gill and the river banks are shallow.
Thanks everyone. I tried the fence line/sheepfold route last week and was amazed by how good the trod was. How did I miss it before?!! :(
Comparing it to my S/SE route through the heather, the fence line route is about 45 seconds quicker and far more runnable, but quite a bit longer and you lose an extra 25m of height. It is also more reliable, as the heather is so deep going S/SE that you have absolutely no idea where your feet are going.